There is nothing more cumbersome than writing a little bit about myself, but I guess that I should jot a few words down that describes me. I grew up in Oklahoma, and left for about seven years after I graduated from high school. The time I spent in the military wasn't a good time for me, because I had to forfeit my individualism to become part of a bigger unit. I did a lot of reading when I was in the Army because I had so much to learn about the world. The interactions I had with different cultures, philosophies, and people made all the other military silliness bearable.
Before Uncle Sam stuck his claws into me, I trained in martial arts, and received my second degree black belt when I was seventeen. In those days, I thought that was a big accomplishment, and then I went on to study Preying Mantis Kung Fu for about a year, and received a black sash in that. I did a longer than usual stint in Korea, and trained in Hapkido for two years, and earned a second degree black belt in that. Two years before I left the military, I married, and then I decided to use Cardio Kickboxing, Step Aerobics, and Land Aerobics to maintain my fitness level. I did quite a bit of running and watching my diet in order to keep a sleek looking body. For the last nine years, I've taught Step Aerobics, but I'll tell you this much, it ain't your grandmother's step class.
Anyway, I like to run more than the average runner for some strange reason. It's the only time that I feel free, that I feel uninhibited. I'll run anywhere from eight to twelve miles on any given day, and every now and again, I'll participate in a marathon. Running gives me time to sort out things in my life. As the summer draws near, I'll start running eight miles in the morning and then another eight miles in the evening on most days of the week. I teach aerobics on Mondays and Wednesdays, so I'll only do eight miles on each of those days. I'll keep up that schedule from May all the way until mid November, and then I'll do treadmill training for four months. It seems like a lot, but it isn't, especially since I've been doing this most of life. I'll most likely die doing some form of exercise, so I just wanted to get that out-of-the-way.
I do have a lot of concerns about our people as a whole. I don't smoke or drink or do drugs, and I've never done anything to shame my family's name. I try to never curse, especially around kids, because it's important they live in an atmosphere where they can thrive. This is the reason I don't care for the Hip Hop culture because it contradicts my beliefs. It spreads a culture of mediocrity, which goes against my way of life. It angers me that I've met so many so-called educated black people who haven't read any books except textbooks. Education should be more than a piece of paper plastered to the wall. I believe racism exists in this society on every level imaginable, and it has affected us all. If you believe Uncle Tom is a black man that does the bidding of the white man, then you're a victim of racism in a manner that's destroying you and yours. This means you haven't read the book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe, but you've been exposed to the plays about the book composed by Southern whites who hated what the book represented. They changed Uncle Tom into a foot shuffling Negro in order to diminish the power of that book. A black person's education isn't replete until they have sat down, read, and analyzed that book on a personal level. I read it for every BHM.
The tragedy in Florida angered a lot of people across the country, especially if they thought America was a post racial nation. The concept of a post racial America is laughable, because underfunded inner city schools is the epitome of racism in America. Blacks who think we live in a post racist America are unread, unlearned, and uneducated beyond what they've learned in their government regulated schools and universities. Sometimes I'm baffled by the game the United States Government has played with our minds. Zimmerman killing Trayvon Martin made a lot of people angry, but where's the outrage over our schools, over the gangs, over the senseless murders that happen in our neighborhoods all across the country? Too many of our kids aren't prepared for college level work, and I don't see anybody taking to the streets over that. As a whole, we're uneducated.
I don't know if there truly are any black leaders in America. Jackson and Sharpton have discussed the importance of education, reading, and learning mathematics; however, I don't think young, black people are listening to them. It incenses me when I hear young black folks talk badly about two gentlemen that have worked for decades for the betterment of black people, and then to have so many of us throw it away, to allow ourselves to engage in criminal activity, is unforgivable. They aren't perfect, but that doesn't mean they haven't been in the fight.
So, the United States Government put drugs into our communities, and then put stiff penalties on anybody that was caught with them. Therefore, the majority of young, black men that I know have spent some time in prison or are convicted felons. This is by design. Every now and again, a person of color escapes the confines of his ghetto imprisonment, and becomes somebody, but it's rare, it's the enigma that baffles the overseers. The only way that I know how to escape the confines of the ghetto is through an education. Even if a person cannot play basketball, if that inner spark is ignited at a young age, they can escape the chains of their government imposed ghettos that kills so many of us.
Martin Luther King Jr. wouldn't have wanted a street in any city in the United States. He never asked for one street or building or monument in his name. He wanted black people to have the freedoms that all Americans share, and nothing more. Not only would he have harsh words for the United States Government, but he'd have even harsher words for us, his people that failed to live up to his expectations. We turned the streets that incorporate his name into drug havens. It's shameful. We're not free, and we'll never be free, as long as we choose an unrighteous lifestyle over that of the righteous lifestyle. Give Martin his dignity, and stop committing crimes on the streets that honor his name.